Sales Resume Keywords - Finding Keywords for a Sales Resume

Sales Resume Keywords - Finding Keywords for a Sales Resume

Sales keywords on a resume reflect the jargon of the profession. Ideally, they are the words employers are searching for to establish that a candidate has a background suitable for a particular job opening in sales. Here's help finding sales keywords for use on your resume.

© David Alan Carter
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If you're in sales, the keywords you select and place strategically in your resume are critical - if you want that resume to result in invitations for interviews. Sales resume keywords directly reflect the jargon of your profession - and often a particular industry. Ideally, they are the words employers are searching for to establish that a candidate has a background suitable for a particular job opening in sales. Where do you find relevant keywords for a sales resume?

First Place To Look: The Job Description

If you've spotted an advertisement or online posting for a position opening in sales that looks appealing, you've also found the perfect place to begin your search for relevant keywords for your sales resume. Most ads will list not only the duties and responsibilities of the position, but they will identify a candidate's necessary qualifications and desired characteristics. Keywords are there for the picking - and they're already optimized for the position.

For example, as I write these words I'm looking at the corporate website for General Electric. On their career page, I had punched in a job search and up popped an opening for a Sales Executive - CDS Sales. Under the category Desired Characteristics, I read some of the following (these are excerpts, with my underlining of important keywords):

  • Minimum of 6 years experience working in a complex sales environment.
  • Proven track record of year over year sales success in driving growth and/or quota attainment.
  • Proficiency in strategic selling principles and tools. 
  • Demonstrated aptitude and success in fostering solid, value-based executive customer relationships.
  • Prior experience working for a large company in a matrix environment.
  • Solid process orientation, demonstrated resource management and allocation experience, and the ability to perform multiple tasks simultaneously.
  • Client service and account management experience with pharma/biotech brand teams, health outcomes, pharmacoeconomics and/or marketing analytics.
  • Experienced in relationship management with CXOs, product team leaders and department heads.

The candidate who is qualified for this position, yet whose resume lacks most, some or all of these sales keywords is at a competitive disadvantage. A resume submitted to General Electric for this job will be scanned by software looking specifically for these keywords. Those resumes without said keywords are effectively invisible to the system.

Other Places To Find Sales Resume Keywords

If you're not applying to a specific job opening, you can still use job advertisements and online postings for relevant keywords to beef up your resume. Other places you might look...

1. Trade magazines and professional newsletters.
2. Conversations with recruiters specializing in your industry/profession.
3. U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook, available at libraries and online.
4. Online informational sites for your industry.
5. Online forums and discussion groups catering to your profession or industry.

Make Sure Your Sales Resume Keywords Are Applicable... To You

Before employing any keyword on your resume, make sure you're comfortable with a) what the heck it means, and b) its relevance to your experience. Assume that you will be asked to expand on any and all technical qualifications you claim in your resume. Be comfortable with them, or don't use them. You do not want to fall on your face in an interview because you can't define matrix management - even though the term courses through your resume.

Editor's Note: Should You Consider A Professional Writer?

In today's tough job market, every resume is fighting for attention - keywords, design, layout, copy. Is yours competitive? "A professional writer can often make the difference," says former recruiter David Alan Carter. "Just make sure your writer is certified and talented." Carter has identified the Best Resume Services on the Web, reviewing quality of workmanship, spelling out their pricing, and giving each a star ranking.

And yes, the best resume writers are pros at the selection and strategic use of resume keywords, including our Top-Rated GreatResumesFast.com.

David Alan Carter is a former technical recruiter (i.e. headhunter) and the founder of Resume One of Cincinnati. For more than ten years, he personally crafted thousands of resumes for satisfied clients from all occupational walks of life, from entry-level to senior executive.

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